This blog was written by Chris Kelly, associate vice president for university marketing and communication.

I’ve always been a fan of photography, but I’ve never been a photographer. Oh I’ve taken a lot of pictures in my time (I’m sure Mom and Dad still have undeveloped film cartridges from my Instamatic somewhere in the house), but I’ve never been able to capture the emotion of a moment  like a true photographer.

As with all great artists, photographers are wired a bit differently than the rest of us. They are able to create a story as powerful as the most prolific author but do so with the single click of a lens shutter. It’s an incredible skill, and one that takes a lifetime to develop.

We’re fortunate to have several of these artists on the campus of Pittsburg State University, one of whom is Mike Gullett.

Mike is an assistant professor of photography in the communication department. He’s also a stringer for the Associated Press, and one of the most humble men you will ever meet.

When the devastating tornado hit Joplin in 2011, Mike was one of the first on the scene. He used his skills to let the world know of what had happened to his hometown. His photographs would be printed in newspapers throughout the world in the days that followed the storm. (Full interview with Mike about the storm)

One of Mike’s photographs from that day was a recent finalist in the 24th Annual Gordon Parks Photography Competition. The competition, which is judged by photography staff at LIFE magazine, attracted entries from some of the world’s best photographers.

Mike’s photograph is of a storm survivor. Surrounded by debris, she is sitting in the street,  gently brushing the hair of her small dog and holding a small plastic bag. These are the only possessions left to her by the storm.

It’s a powerful image, and could only be captured by an artist. (See the photograph here)

I’m proud of Mike’s accomplishments, but I’m even more proud that Pittsburg State is able to attract faculty of Mike’s caliber.

They care about their life’s work and are teaching our students the skills they need to become successful in life.

It’s another reason why I’m so proud to be a Gorilla.